The Opposition is disappointed that Minister Halkitis and the Davis Administration are still
not leveling with the Bahamian people on their policy and rationale for this new “back door” policy on vacation home registration and regulation.
Minister Halkitis has not explained what legal basis there is for the Department of Inland Revenue to require mandatory registration of all vacation home rental properties. He is misleading the public by suggesting that the former administration passed any law with the intention for registration of individual Bahamian vacation home rental homes.
In fact, he would find that it states – as we informed the public at the time – that the government would be able to obtain the taxes due from international aggregators like AirBnB and VRBO directly, with no mention or intention to require individual Bahamian hosts to register. The FNM Administration did what we said and now VAT is collected from these websites.
In addition,the Minister has still to explain why the public notices of the DIR are foreshadowing business license and registration fees for Bahamian-owned vacation rental units beginning in 2024. Again, we demand that the government level with the Bahamian people.
Any consideration for any mandatory registration should come to Parliament and be ventilated in the full view of the people’s representatives. The government must fully explain its policy with respect to registration and business license, especially for those persons under the VAT threshold of $100,000. The law as it stands today is sufficient to allow the government to do what it needs to do with the international websites without any further burdensome
regulatory requirements on the backs of entrepreneurial Bahamians trying to earn a living.
J. Kwasi Thompson
Member of Parliament East Grand Bahama/Shadow Minister for Finance March 13, 2023